Is ransomware causing bitcoin to skyrocket? Seems to be really related

Original author | Chris Stokel-Walker

Translator | Moni

Produced | Odaily Planet Daily (ID: o-daily)

Flagstaff, Arizona, Wacora, Florida, Virginia, New York, Louisiana, and Oklahoma – all of these areas have recently experienced severe ransomware attacks. Last month, some US senators even called on the Department of Homeland Security to help the states and local governments tide over the storm.

In fact, the cryptocurrency has previously been considered a “major issue” by the US Department of Homeland Security. At the recent US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing, Senator Mitt Romney raised concerns about cryptocurrencies, which he believes are cryptocurrencies. It may threaten US homeland security. In response, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray, also responded quickly. He stressed that cryptocurrency is already a "significant issue" and that the problem is becoming "increasing."

However, most law enforcement agencies focus only on issues such as money laundering and terrorist financing, but ignore another issue of great concern: ransomware attacks. Internet security company Emisoft believes that ransomware attacks are one reason for the value of Bitcoin to be supported. The company found that ransomware attacks are not just about shutting down local services. Getting bitcoin seems to be a new goal: in 2019 In the first three months, 98% of all ransomware attacks claimed ransoms were bitcoins.

According to Emisoft's analysis, victims have to use Bitcoin to pay ransoms when they are attacked by ransomware, which pushes up the market demand for bitcoin, which has pushed up bitcoin prices, and may even be a stimulus to investors. the reason. Emisof cited the 2017 WannaCry attack, which infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide and required victims to pay ransoms to specific bitcoin wallets. Emisoft also studied a number of specific event cases and analyzed that ransomware attacks did increase the value of Bitcoin to some extent, such as:

  • In 2017, just before the WannaCry attack swept the world, Bitcoin traded for about $1,845. However, two weeks after the attack became the headline, the bitcoin price rose to $2,446.
  • In May 2019, Bitcoin traded at around $5,350 just before a series of attacks on US cities. Today, prices have doubled.

In response, Emisoft spokesperson Brett Callow further explained, he said:

"There seems to be a link between large ransomware attacks and bitcoin price increases. But associations don't always mean causality, and every time a ransomware attack affects bitcoin prices in different ways, big or small."

Marie Vasek, a lecturer in information security at the University of London, believes that it may be difficult to see the impact on bitcoin prices from a single ransomware attack, but in fact, if we aggregate these attacks for analysis, we will find that there is a certain correlation. Marie Vasek even suspects that the impact of ransomware attacks on bitcoin prices is beyond the details of the people, she explained:

"Because ransomware attacks always happen in many places, it's hard to figure out the market."

Alan Woodward, a visiting professor of cybersecurity at the University of Sussex, seems to have a different opinion. He said:

"Ransomware may only be part of the price of bitcoin, because bitcoin prices are highly volatile and fluctuating, which may be the result of many market factors."

Alan Woodward is skeptical about the link between ransomware attacks and bitcoin price movements, in part because he feels that criminals are likely to convert bitcoin into safer commodities, such as diamonds or gold, so they don’t Too strong reason has always held Bitcoin.

But one thing is clear, that is, there is a relationship between the rise of ransomware and the rise in bitcoin prices, although there is still a direct relationship to be discussed. Guillermo Suarez-Tangil, a lecturer in informatics at King's College London, said:

“As cybercrime has become more and more commercialized, criminals have become an important source of income for the underground economy, and ransomware is just one of the many reasons why criminals have introduced cryptocurrency capital.”

In addition to Bitcoin, Guillermo Suarez-Tangil and his colleagues also studied another cryptocurrency, Monero, which found that 4.4% of Monroe was in Monroe in all market circulation. Illegal exploitation of the victim's computer through malware, if calculated at the current Monroe price, is worth more than a few million dollars. Guillermo Suarez-Tangil therefore believes that:

“It can be reasonably assumed that all of these demands will have an impact on price growth.”

Marie Vasek, a lecturer in information security at the University of London, also discovered another phenomenon: every bitcoin price increase associated with a ransomware attack coincided with a rise in the fiat currency. It can be seen that criminals should quickly redeem into legal tender money after getting a bitcoin ransom, or make these bitcoin ransoms more difficult to track.

Emisoft spokesperson Brett Callow also put forward a new point of view. He believes that due to the increase in the number of ransomware attacks, some companies and municipalities have become aware that their systems are at risk of being attacked by malware, so they may "deliberately" purchase Some bitcoins just in case. Brett Callow explains:

"We know that there are many companies that are hoarding bitcoin to prevent the loss of ransomware and not enough bitcoin to pay the attacker."

According to a 2018 survey, three-quarters of corporate information security officers said they hold Bitcoin, hoping to prevent ransom payments in the face of ransomware attacks.

Brett Callow finally said:

"You will find that the more ransomware attacks, the more noticeable the hazards of the case, the more companies will start buying bitcoin. So we suspect this is the reason for pushing the price of bitcoin, after all, when you are attacked Bitcoin is required when you are forced to pay a ransom."

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